THE ART OF THE REPEAL
by: Cook E. Morgan
Who would have thought healthcare was so complicated? Just about every U.S. President since Harry Truman. That's who.
Add to the list our 45th one and the Senate's head honcho, the notorious old Kentuckian fart and tortoise enthusiast Mitch McConnell. They both learned the perils of attempting to screw people up when cameras are on and an anxious nation is watching.
It took one progressive President 80 years to pass healthcare reform. It took a conservative political party 7 to try and fail to scrap it and replace it with a new plan, a better plan, something. Anything!
As we all watched on TV another old fart, this one from Arizona, maverick John McCain shoot a historic thumbs down, the Republican attempt to snatch health insurance away from millions of Americans was DOA.
Back in Penn Avenue, the orange man who "wrote" The Art of the Deal was dealing no more that night. His unbelievable ignorance did him in. His overrated demagoguery failed him. His artistic deal-making abilities were no match to the task at hand. I can go on.
In the end, the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare became an awesome thunderclap in the annals of progressive v. conservative politics in the USA.
I can very easily remind you of the many times he and his fellow Republicans uttered the words "repeal and replaced" but I won't. No need to rub it in.
What I will tell you, though, is that what just happened with healthcare is an indication that we as a nation, are beginning to grapple with the noble idea of healthcare as a human right. We are beginning to see it as a notion that ought to be writen into our glorious constitution. Not health insurance but healthcare, the government's duty to provide it to the people, just like safety, infrastructure and education -the latter, incidentally, not in the document.
As democrats, republicans, libertarians, socialists, greeners and independents try to figure out ways to provide healthcare in XXI century America, we will need excellent negotiators, fantastic deal makers, brilliant men and women who can elevate the act of cutting a deal to an art form.
Charlatans need not apply.
TAX CUTS. REALLY?
by: Lou Cho
Republicans held their noses and voted for Trump because of their hatred of Hillary Clinton.
Now they put up with his divisive shenanigans because of repeal-and-replace Obamacare and tax cuts.
Since the repeal-replace thing turned out to be a dud, tax cuts gotta do the trick.
What they're selling is a fantasy. A pie in the sky. A dream. A chimera or as some Spanish speakers would say -literally- "a turd inside the brain."
Once again and contrary to what the evidence indicates, our dear Republicans are claiming that the new tax cuts they're proposing will energize the economy to such a fantastic level that millions of jobs will be created, salaries will go up thru the roof, and the deficit will go thru the floor.
They promise such a bonanza, such an explosion of growth, such an economic orgasm that the ejaculation will shock the world into an endless economic ecstasy.
No exaggeration here. That's exactly what they're selling.
Question is, how are they going to do that?
As always, by giving the very rich and big corporations an obscenely huge tax cut.
Republicans believe that by bringing the corporate tax rate from 36% to 20%, American corporations and American millionaires will bring home the billions of dollars they have stashed abroad in fiscal paradises, invest them in new projects, hire millions of new workers and pay them high, living wages
What about the deficit? Never mind. The boon will be so spectacular that all the new income taxes will offset it in no time.
To Republicans, this is a no-brainer. To many economists, this is bullshit. There's no evidence whatsoever that cutting taxes for the very rich and big companies grows the economy, lowers unemployment or raises wages. None. Republican politicians can argue to the contrary all the want, but facts are facts -something they seem to be averse to lately. (Thanks Trump!)
Right now, as you read this, the very rich and major American corporations don't, I repeat, DO NOT pay little or no taxes at all thanks to thousands of loopholes in the law, and clever, highly-paid lawyers.
Why would these companies or rich individuals bring their money home? What's the incentive? And why would they invest it here when they can continue to invest it in China and the Third World where labor is cheap and rent is low?
Greed and dividends for shareholders is the name of the game in modern economics. No wonder Wall Street is running on record high numbers.
After all, there's no "P" of patriotism in capitalism.
DEAR CONFEDERATE MONUMENT
by: Robert E. Lehman
Dear Confederate Monument:
Dude! Sorry to hear you're having a tough time lately. I feel your pain. One day you're up and proud, the next day you're down and humiliated. That sucks.
But let's be honest. You've gotten a free ride all these years. You know you're a tribute to a lost cause erected by losers. Otherwise you'd be resting in peace somewhere, as you should, instead of exposed to sun, rain and bird droppings.
You also know they used you, bro. They used you to intimidate Yankees and blacks, and to defy the world: "We lost but we ain't gone. We're coming back."
Do you think that after all the mayhem, horror, death, maiming, hatred, suffering and destruction that you caused and almost brought our country to the brink of annihilation in the name of States' rights, you're gonna make a comeback?
You should've told your builders: "Guys, it's over. In a few years nobody will give a damn about us. Let's move on."
But you didn't. Instead, years after the war was over and the occupying Yankees went home, you all drank Jim Crow Kool-Aid and started building statues and obelisks like crazy all over the place to celebrate defeat! WTF! There're more than 700 of you in 31 States!
Now a new generation wants to set the record straight. Not out of the blue, mind you, but because of that messed-up white supremacist kid who wanted to start a race war in America. Guess what? We already had one and y'all lost.
So, like a good soldier, please salute and march away into oblivion. A grateful nation will give you the tribute you deserve.
by: Rachel Raise
I shall be quick, dear. Yes, indeed, there is racism in the good old US of A. Since day one, mind you. Northeastern native Americans can attest to that. Southeasterners too. Westerners as well. All of them. So much so, that when the notable "founding fathers" argued among themselves about what to say about African slaves and native people in their famous document, they dropped the subject. It was a sort of Sarah Palin-ish historic declaration: I'll get back to ya with an answer.
It took us almost 100 years to amend the doc and free the slaves and another 10 to say they were citizens too. But we hated it. We did everything we could to undermine them. From Reconstruction on, we harassed them, shoved them, blocked them, struck them and eventually started lynching them. That was America's reaction to the 13th and 14th Amendments.
It took a while longer to let them vote, get an education and find housing. We even managed to ignore their military contributions in our many wars. That's us.
So the story of America's innate racism is long and ugly. Fortunately, every new generation is less racist. Millennials, for instance, seem to be so (With the exception of course, of some of them carrying Nazi flags in Charlottesville, VA!).
The President we just elected is not a Millennial. That means we can expect anything from him regarding race, racial relations and racism. Even the possibility that he is actually a racist person is something we can expect from him. We shouldn't be shocked then when he says the racist things he says. That's not an excuse, by no means, but dude... he's the President for the love of God! Keep it to yourself, man. Hide it from your policies, for crying out loud. Realize the future of America will not be racist. Understand that you're just a passing figure in History's timeline. You may end up being an asterisk for all we know.
So do the right thing. Fight off your DNA. Shut up and govern like it's 1925!
THE RUSSIA THING
by: Lou Cho
It's a big deal. Pretty messed up. Never seen before in US History. It can end up taking this guy down and thus correcting the historical aberration his election became.
So far it's a two-prong investigation. One is how did Russia fuck with our election, and the other, did people in the Trump campaign help them do it -you know, the "collusion" thing.
The latest is that the guy leading the investigation, former FBI Director and Washington DC's fave uncle, Bob Mueller put together a freaking Grand Jury.
WTF is that, you ask.
A Grand Jury is a jury that is... well... grand. Big. Powerful. It's a secret jury of 12 to 26 people like you and me -we're not supposed to know exactly how many- that gets together privately in a Courthouse to hear evidence from a prosecutor and determine if it's bad enough to indict somebody. It can also subpoena documents and people who don't want to talk voluntarily to the prosecutor.
The fact that Uncle Bob put together a Grand Jury means he's getting ready to kick some ass, legally speaking. In the next few weeks we may see indictments or hear about VIP witnesses spilling the beans under oath.
I'm talking about dumb Junior... his shy bro-in-law... the dapper guy who made all that money in Ukraine... German bankers who loaned so-called Russian dirty money to The Donald... the freaking "lock-her-up" chanting General... the right wing AG who met with the Russian ambassador so many times he learned how to say Collusion in Russian... even the VP better watch out and probably -if he dares come to the US- the super-duper British spy who investigated Trump's adventures in Putinland -including the infamous "golden shower" video the whole world is dying to see!
Whatever Mueller digs out, Trump's presidency is already soiled like a baby's diaper. It's impossible to accept nothing happened when so many people so close to Trump met so many times with so many Russians and so conveniently forgot to mention it when asked or when applying for government security clearance.
Whoever says this is a "nothingburger" -an expression I don't use and greatly despise, don't ask me why- must read any Trump bio to learn about the shady ways he has done business thru the years.
Once a conniving, unscrupulous wheeler dealer... always a... you know the rest.
by: Rolo Ruiz
Sitting in Doctor Tseng’s sterile office, I awaited the results of the dreaded throat swab that happened moments before. Streptococcal Pharyngitis also known as Strep Throat is not a diagnosis one wants to hear from their doctor. Luckily, this is 2017 and the remedy is easily available: A big dose of antibiotics to eradicate the nasty bug. As any mom will say, it's imperative that one finishes the medication that a doctor prescribes because not doing so can lead to a mutation in the bacteria making it resistant to that particular strain. Once the bacteria becomes resistant to that strain of antibiotic it becomes harder and harder to kill it. Or as my mom would say, “Te lo acabas, o te lo acabas”
Slavery and racism have been the Streptococcal Pharyngitis that has plagued this country since its inception. Its internal forces clashed when the North, in an attempt to eradicate the illness met the resistance of the South trying not just to preserve it but to transmit the illness to the rest of the growing nation. The North, morality and justice proved victorious. However, that wasn’t the end of the malady. America did not see its prescription of anti-hate to completion. No, it certainly did not.
Now, 150 years later, its pernicious symptoms have remained alive but “dormant.” While in its dormancy period, the illness was, in part, strengthened by allowing bacterial cells to prosper in the form of monuments.
“Doctor, can you please preserve a few bacterial cells so that I don’t forget about this experience”, said no one ever.
Yet, there exists an analogous sentiment in 2017, a sentiment that abdicates reason, logic and morality. This sentiment is, embarrassingly, espoused by the President of the United States. “Heritage”, “white history’ and “erasing history” are arguments presented in defense of these -as the President says- “beautiful statues”.
Even a glimpse of an examination of said defenses crumbles in the face of logic. First, Slavery was the main reason for the Civil War as stated in the Articles of Secession. “Heritage” just sounds more civil than “Slavery”, I reckon. “White history”? How? There were more white people that fought and died in defense of the Union. Therefore, if we’re going by numbers, the Union is more “white history” than the Confederate States. “Erasing history”? No, removing statues of Confederate Traitors from American public lands is not erasing history. It’s simply not venerating the ugliest part of it.
Are there any statues of Hitler in Germany? No. Should we erect a statue of Osama Bin Laden in Ground Zero in NYC to not forget about that? No. That’s as absurd as defending Confederate statues anywhere in the country.
It’s time the USA finishes its prescription and eradicates any semblance of hate from its public lands. If it’s history you're worried about, lets see a more robust education system that teaches students to think critically of our history, to acknowledge our faults and admire our accomplishments. Just as bacteria that comes back stronger if not dealt with, we must face this head on or else we’ll be forced to repeat history.
Or as my mom would say, “No la friegues!”